Russia might freeze WTO accession talks

An aide to President Vladimir Putin says that Moscow could put WTO accession negotiations with the US on hold if no progress is made in the near future.

"We have reached a critical point beyond which there may be no further retreat. We cannot give way anymore now. The situation with the United States is about the same: it has also reached a critical point," Igor Shuvalov said.

Russia's bilateral negotiations with the US over its bid to join the world's largest trade body broke down in July over differences on agriculture.

Shuvalov said the Russian government could make some unconventional decisions on WTO accession, but that there was no desire to join it at any price. "The government may decide to suspend the process and then restart the talks [at a later stage]," he said.

The US currently enjoys concessions under agreements signed between the two countries in 2005, which will remain in force until 2009. The agreements raised quotas on US supplies of poultry meat to 1.2 billion metric tons, of beef to 450,000 tons and of pork to 502,000 tons. The United States earns about $1 billion on poultry meat exports to Russia annually.

The Economic Development and Trade Ministry earlier warned that it would review the agreements on meat imports from the US if WTO talks in October were a failure.

See our blog on Russia's power play over the WTO accession negotiations.

Editor WorldPoultry

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